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Feel the Pressure? Change of seasons meddles even with medicated blood pressure

Sudden heat waves, weather fronts and not enough water are the main culprits behind irregular blood pressure

Of all common diseases HBP (high blood pressure) is probably the easiest to understand: just imagine an over-pumped bicycle tyre. That’s your blood vessels. The increased blood flow exerts unusually pressure on the walls of your blood vessels, which is a huge strain on your heart and the entire cardiovascular system. Ageing is likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure: they might not know it but every third person above the age 55 suffers from high blood pressure.
The change of seasons and weather fronts are particularly dangerous because the tiny blood vessels – capillaries and arterioles – dilate in the heat, lowering blood pressure, then a sudden cold front makes the blood vessels contract, increasing blood pressure. It is wise to check your blood pressure regularly if the outside temperature increases rapidly overnight then drops just as rapidly in a cold front. Sudden swings of temperature strain the cardiovascular system. Sleepless nights in the heat wave are also a concern, as sleep deprivation is yet another cause of irregular blood pressure.

Good To Know

• It is common knowledge that too much salt in your food increases blood pressure; lesser known is the fact that sugar – especially fructose, a simple carbohydrate added to convenient food – is just as bad for your blood pressure. The recommended maximum of daily sugar intake is five teaspoons (100 kcal) for women and nine teaspoons (150 kcal) for men, including soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.
• Sleep apnoea is likely to increase blood pressure in the long run. Waking up to your own snoring and temporary oxygen deprivation rapidly increases blood pressure. Falling asleep lowers the pressure again. These nightly peaks generally increase blood pressure over time.
• Anti-inflammatory drugs and fever medication, anti-depressants and certain medicinal herbs (such as ginseng and liquorice) might also raise blood pressure. Always consult your doctor when combining these with blood pressure pills.

DOCTOR’S ORDER

"Now that summer is just around the corner you may consider consulting your doctor about lowering the dose of your blood pressure medication to compensate for the dilated blood vessels in the summer heat,” advises Dr. András Kecskés, internal physician and cardiologist at Dr. Rose Private Hospital. “Diabetic patients on high blood pressure medication should be particularly cautious this time of the year: while we are all advised to drink half a litre more water a day, they should preferably raise their daily water intake by a litre to compensate for excessive perspiration. Dehydration raises blood sugar levels, which could be detrimental in their condition.”